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How to build a 2D pen plotter for 24"x36" paper? Answered

My dad's pretty attached to his 30 year old pen plotter since it will draw on 24"x36" paper(he used to be a draftsman), but he wants a new computer. I need to find out if it would be easier to build one from scratch rather than try to find drivers? I'm thinking on something related to the drawbot? He probably won't let me hack the parts from the old one to make a new one, which might make life easier. Unfortunately, I have programming skills limited to "Hello world".

Design constraints:
24" wide paper width (adjustable?)
36" or more length, would be awesome if it was able to use paper rolls (Might need to batch the drawing in sections for this)
USB would help
Must support multiple passes for colored inks, or else upgrade to 4 pen system



I agree with those who say it'll work with HPGL.


dual boot the pc with your old op system just for plotting

If you could build your own, and that's a big if, you would still have to have drivers to run your homebuilt plotter so you would either have to learn to write drivers or build your plotter to understand the pre-written drivers. Either way you would have to understand plotter driver language.

You should be able to find drivers for the existing plotter or a generic converter to convert what ever drawings he had to whatever the plotter wants to use.

Or build an "old" computer that will run the existing drivers and plot with that one.

Depending on the plotter and software in question, there might not be much of a driver required at all -- the software might just want to send the HPGL or similar commands directly out the serial or parallel port. This site has plotter drivers up through Windows 7, but they cost $200, and again, you might not actually need drivers at all.

Its probably easier to keep using the existing hardware with a software emulator and/or hardware converter. What brand/model is the plotter and what software are you using to integrate it? Could you include info on the specifics of those?